Bill Aims to Get More Youth Voting
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. A proposed Colorado bill aims to get more young people voting in elections.
For most teens, turning 16 means finally being in the driver's seat.
If House Bill13-1135 passes, they will have the opportunity to get started on another journey. A Longmont representative wants to give 16-year-olds the opportunity to preregister to vote.
Martha Graf, executive director of Kids Voting Mesa County, said, "It is the bedrock of what our country is built on."
While the bill would not allow 16-year-olds to vote, it puts them on the path to do so when they turn 18.
"This legislation will get 16-year-olds taking their role as a potential voter more seriously," said Graf.
Sheila Reiner, Mesa County Clerk, said, "If your in there getting your driver's license, it's awfully easy to just say, 'yes, also register me to vote.'"
Graf said, "They might start thinking more early on that it's time to become informed about the issues."
Samuel McBurney, who hopes to be the president one day, says this bill could positively impact young generations. The 15-year-old Fruita Monument High School student said, "I think it's a great opportunity for youth voters such as myself to go and learn the political process."
"We do try to let kids know what some of the fundamental definitions are of parties, we try to give them the information and let them decide for themselves," said Graf.
Other states have had an increased participation of youth voting due to similar bills.
"I'm really not concerned about the impact of this bill for fraud or financial issues."
However, some critics say it could lead to problems.
Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, said, "People who may be living in one place, they'll go off to college or move out of their parents homes, that information becomes outdated very very fast. So that creates a problem, I think sometimes with our voter rolls."
Gessler also points out that youth can easily register to vote online in just a few minutes, "it's very easy to register to vote here in Colorado, the proof is in the pudding, our numbers show that."
Similar bills have not been successful in the past, but many predict this one has a fighting chance.
Florida and Hawaii are just two of the states with preregistration programs.